BOCA RATON, FL: Brands engaging in content marketing may need to create new metrics if they are to understand the impact of their communications in this rapidly developing field, a leading executive has argued.

Barbara Basney, Xerox's vp/global advertising and media, discussed this issue while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' 2014 Media Leadership Conference in Boca Raton, Florida.

She can claim no little expertise in the matter, given that content marketing is at the heart of Xerox's efforts to reposition its brand. (For more, including how the company has worked with Forbes, The Week and NBC Universal, read Warc's exclusive report: How content plays drive Xerox's on-going brand revitalization.)

And, based on her experience in this area, Basney summed up the current challenge in four words: "Content measurement isn't perfect."

One reason for this is that brands are often building bespoke solutions which best serve their specific objectives in the content space.

"If we're creating new opportunities – which is exciting – we're also not going to have a lot of hard metrics to rely on," said Basney.

In such circumstances, marketers must be willing to test different approaches in order to get the data they need to demonstrate success.

"You have to be comfortable with capturing what you can, measuring what you can, and figure out a way to jerry-rig and create what you need to measure," Basney continued. "You're going to have to complete your own repository of internal metrics."

However, as brands run an increasing number of programmes in this area, marketers should soon be able to identify which indicators have a common application.

"You're going to see something in common between them to compare, contrast, and determine what you're going to do going forward," Basney told the conference audience.

Data sourced from Warc